The University of South Carolina (often shortened to USC, SC, or simply Carolina) is a four-year co-ed research institution located in the beautiful city of Columbia, South Carolina. The Columbia campus is the university’s main campus, and seven satellite campuses are located in the cities of Aiken, Beaufort, Lancaster, Allendale, Sumter, Union, and Spartanburg.
USC was first established as South Carolina College in 1801 with only one building, and USC continues to grow to this day. The University’s Old Campus District, known as The Horseshoe, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, but the University of South Carolina has spread out dramatically and currently encompasses over 350 acres. The school continues to expand west toward the Congaree River.
USC offers more than 70 undergraduate majors from 15 different colleges, which include the popular College of Arts and Sciences; College of Education; College of Engineering & Computing; The Graduate School; College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management; School of Law; College of Mass Communications & Information Studies; and the School of Medicine. The official USC website provides detailed information about these and all of the other colleges at the school.
Considering that USC is comprised of such a diverse group of colleges, it’s easy to see that students can study nearly anything their heart desires. A few of the most popular majors offered at USC include biology; health and physical education; public relations, advertising, and applied communications; business administration, management, and operations; and teacher education and professional development.
The South Carolina Honors College is a unique program that grants academically-successful students access to a world-class academic program. Students are presented with enrichment opportunities ranging from internships and service learning to student research and programs that allow students to study at colleges and universities other than USC all while receiving more attention and support than most large universities can offer. Specific requirements for admission to the South Carolina Honors College apply, so interested students should contact the College for more information.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The University of South Carolina is considered a selective school, and students should note that meeting basic requirements does not guarantee admission. Prospective students are encouraged to be thoughtful while completing their applications to give USC admissions representatives an idea of the likelihood of their future success.
Students interested in transferring to the University of South Carolina can apply for admission for fall, spring or summer terms. Incoming freshmen, students transferring from another college or university, students seeking readmission, undergraduate non-degree applicants, international undergraduate students, and South Carolina Honors College applicants can all apply to USC through Undergraduate Admissions. Application deadlines, forms, and fees vary, so students are encouraged to check with the USC Admissions office to ensure proper deadlines are met.
USC graduate students are admitted through the Graduate School and the university’s colleges, schools, and departments. Prospective students can apply to The Graduate School online. Admission is granted based on the recommendation of colleges, schools, and departments. Application deadlines, forms, and fees vary greatly and students are encouraged to check with their appropriate college, school, or department’s official website to meet all deadlines.
The University of South Carolina offers financial assistance to over 90% of its undergraduate students. Financial aid opportunities are available to USC students in the form of academic scholarships, grants, and student loans.
To be eligible for financial aid at USC, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as soon as possible after it becomes available online after January 1 each year. This application is required for both federal and state financial aid programs.
In addition to grants and student loans, a wide variety of merit-based scholarships are available to USC students. These scholarships include Alumni Scholars, Carolina Scholars, Carolina Scholars Finalist, Cooper Scholars, Dean’s Scholars Award, McKissick Scholars, McNair Scholars, McNair Scholars Finalist, Thornwell Scholars, Trustees’ Endowment Scholars, University Scholars, Valedictorian Scholars, and Woodrow Scholars. Departmental scholarships are also available from many departments at USC, and students are encouraged to contact the departments directly for more information.
Student Financial Aid Details
USC’s Columbia campus enrollment was over 27,000 during fall 2008, and nearly 20,000 students were undergraduates. Students are fortunate to have extensive academic support services, helpful student campus services, and even an impressive amount of arts and entertainment at their disposal.
Once USC students have an account created, they can conveniently pay for meals, drinks, snacks, photocopies, books, membership fees, and more with their CarolinaCard, which is linked to their meal plan and also serves as their student ID. In addition to being the preferred method of payment on campus, the CarolinaCard grants students access into housing facilities, parking lots, and various buildings on campus. Students can view their Carolina Cash balance online, along with their recent transactions.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The University of South Carolina is home to 19 varsity sports teams known as the Gamecocks. The university’s varsity teams compete in the NCAA Division I and all teams except for men’s soccer compete in the Southeastern Conference. Men’s soccer competes in Conference USA.
USC’s official school colors are garnet and black, and the school’s fight song is “The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way.” Cocky, a costumed cartoon version of a fighting gamecock, is the official mascot of the USC athletic teams. Cocky has won several “mascot national championship” distinctions, including the Universal Cheerleading Association mascot championship in 1986 and 1994, along with the Capital One mascot championship in 2003.
USC’s baseball teams frequently qualify for the playoffs, and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks impressively won the NCAA baseball National Championships in both 2010 and 2011.
USC has over 25,000 living alumni. Notable University of South Carolina graduates include:
- Rita Cosby, three-time Emmy award winner and host of MSNBC’s Rita Cosby Live
- Leeza Gibbons, actress and former Entertainment Tonight host
- Troy Williamson, NFL player
- Marcus McBeth, pitcher for the Cincinatti Reds
- Larry Kellner, chairman of the board and CEO of Continental Airlines
- Howard A. Wheeler, Jr., president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway
- Darius Rucker, musician and lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish
During the fall of 2008, the University of South Carolina had nearly 2,200 full-time faculty that taught at its eight campuses. Over 1,600 of those professors were instructors at the main Columbia campus. USC continues to aggressively recruit new faculty members through two distinct hiring programs, one which is focused on research and another which is focused on interdisciplinary clusters.
In addition to its dedicated faculty, USC employs over 4,000 full-time staff members to help ensure that students’ questions and concerns are addressed while things run smoothly.
Additional School Information
The four members of the popular American rock band Hootie and the Blowfish met while attending the University of South Carolina. As of July 2011, their 1994 debut album Cracked Rear View was the 15th best-selling album of all time in the United States.
USC is home to the largest collection of Robert Burns and Scottish literature materials outside of Scotland.
- McGrath, Anne, ed. U.S. News & World Report: Ultimate College Guide. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010. Print.
- University of South Carolina. Web. 2 July 2011.
- University of South Carolina Gamecocks Online. Web. 2 July 2011.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.